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Heads of sports federations publish conditions for readmission to Russia

International Biathlon Union officials have recommended maintaining the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes

Officials of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) have recommended the continuation of the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes, also addressing requests to the biathlon federations of the two countries if they wish the suspension of their membership to be lifted.

The IBU first announced a ban on competitors from Russia and Belarus in early March, following a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IBU then took the further step of suspending the membership of the Russian and Belarusian biathlon federations, accusing them of “violating humanitarian obligations”.

The IBU announced on Tuesday that its board of directors will recommend to the organization’s Congress in September that the bans imposed on Russian and Belarusian athletes continue, while presenting requests to the two nations’ biathlon federations if they want their membership status is restored.

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“The IBU Executive Council has decided to recommend to the IBU Congress to maintain the suspension of the RBU [Russian Biathlon Union] and the BiFBs [Belarusian Biathlon Federation] membership in the IBU until certain conditions are met”,a press release read.

“The Board also seeks confirmation from the IBU Congress of its earlier decision that Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials will still not be allowed to participate in international events until further notice in order to protect the athlete safety and the integrity of IBU competitions.”

The decision will be presented for approval at the IBU Congress in Salzburg, Austria, September 15-18.

If the membership suspensions are confirmed, they may remain in effect until the next IBU Congress.

The IBU board also demanded that in order to have the sanctions lifted, the Russian and Belarusian biathlon federations must “demonstrate their full commitment to supporting and promoting the aims and principles of the IBU.”

He added that the two organizations should “to distance oneself clearly” of the conflict in Ukraine and “ensure that none of their officials or athletes are actively involved in the Russian military” Where “take any share” in military efforts.

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“The IBU Executive Council will monitor the implementation of the above conditions and may temporarily lift the imposed suspension until the next Congress, if it considers, in its sole discretion, that the above conditions have been met”, he added.

The statement noted that “The RBU and the BiFB are requested to respond to the motions and will have the right to be heard at the IBU Congress.”

Biathlon is just one of many sports where Russian athletes have been sidelined due to the conflict in Ukraine.

Russian officials and sports figures have called the bans discriminatory and undermining the principle that sport is outside of politics. It was also noted that other nations – notably the United States and its NATO allies – have not faced similar sporting sanctions over the years, despite their governments being involved in conflicts at worldwide.

READ MORE: French biathlon coach faces ‘hate’ after supporting Russian athletes


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